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Bay City Grasslands

Date: February 01, 2004
Bay City Grasslands
Birders: Nilo Arribas, Jr., Mike Lu, Carl Oliveros, Mark Villa


e went to the grasslands to survey if it was still a good place to bird because of all the degradation that's been happening. Ned and Mike were the original birders but Ned couldn't make it. Mike, Nilo, Carl and I, the same birders who birded Tambo yesterday, went to survey instead. It was 6 am and we were already by the church. It was still very dark but we kept on hearing calls coming from the grasses. We waited till some light came before we started. We went to the drainage channel behind the church to see what's out there. Carl noticed something that looked like a bird perched on a post. He and Nilo tried to creep up to it to check it out. It was still quite dark so we couldn't really be sure. We named it Carl's Rock Dove because it was indeed just a small rock dangling from the post ! We walked ahead and there weren't much but a number of Common Sandpipers and some Little Egrets flying up ahead, and some Scaly-breasted Munias by the ground/grasses.

We also saw a couple of Asian Golden Plovers and a Common Kingfisher. We crossed the bridge and went to the other side - the site of the new Nayong Pilipino. We figured it was safe because there was no guard on duty besides there were no signs. So we walked and walked looking at the Brown Shrikes(one was particularly dirty), Striated Grassbirds and the adorable Chestnut Munias until someone on a motorcycle stopped in front of us. He asked us where we were going. We kept quiet until he recognized Nilo, "Oh! Hi sir, it's you again." The same guard already told us a few months before that we weren't allowed in the artificial lake area - the land across the channel from our Tambo site. Nilo feigned ignorance and replied: "Sakop ba ninyo hanggang dito ? Malaki pala ang property ninyo." translated roughly to: Your area of responsibility extends up to this point ? Wow, it is such a big property.. A Zitting Cisticola stole our attention from the guard and we all focused our binoculars on it, disregarding the guard's warning. He pointed to us a dead Intermediate Egret on the floor where we were standing that we failed to notice. Nilo was glad he could finally take good pictures of a bird. We made one last plea but the guard reasoned he was just carrying out his duty. We finally headed back and went to the grasslands where SM is building a mall. Mike parked his car and instantly we saw about 3 Striated Grassbirds and a Bright-Capped Cisticola. It was quite loud with its eeeeh, eeeeh, eeeeh cat sound. We also went to the other side where Mike said used to look like hills of sort. When we got up, we were surprised to see that it looked like no hill but more like a wasteland. Some new construction was on the process it seemed and people and bikers were crossing the area. Nevertheless, we went ahead to see what's around. We saw more BCC's, munias and one Oriental Reed Warbler.

There were also a couple of Spotted Doves on the ground. Mike's quick eye noticed something really far, as we got nearer and there it turned out to be a Lesser Coucal. On our way back, there were more Spotted Doves around and some Crested Mynahs. That was really tiring... long walk, hot sun but not quite much to see. Our last stop was the bridge leading to the Senate building. As Mike expected, there were the resident White-collared Kingfishers in the area and not much more but a Common Sandpiper and some Whiskered Terns. We stayed there for a bit talking and looking around until we finally called it a birding day. We thought that maybe it wasn't a good place anymore to bring 1st time birders since we didn't see much and a lot of the habitats,trees and grasslands, were being torn down for constructions and projects. No more sign of the Pratincoles and Grass Owl. Quite sad.

1. Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia)----- 1 dead
2. Little Egret (Egretta minor)-----9+
3. Little Heron (Butorides striatus)- 1
4. Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)- 5+
5. Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos)-----10+
6. Asian Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)-----2
7. Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus)-----9
8. Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)-----11
9. Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis)-----2
10. Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)-----1
11. Oriental Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis)-----1
12. Striated Grassbird (Megalurus palustris)----- 10+
13. Bright-capped Cisticola (Cisticola exilis)----- 5+
14. Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)-----1
15. Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) - 4+
16. Crested Mynah (Acridotheres cristatellus)----- 6
17. Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)- 9
18. Chestnut Munia (Lonchura malacca) - 40+